Make Your Own Hacky Sack

You can rejuvenate worn-out muscles and a tired sense of humor if you get involved in hacky sack, the play-it-anywhere game. Just follow these instructions.

| January/February 1983

The hacky sack, a little leather pouch filled with seeds, can be seen zipping through the air (from foot to foot) almost anywhere today: in living rooms, town squares, or checkout lines at the supermarket!

These go-anyplace squashable objets de sport are about the size of racquetballs and are controlled with the foot, as is a soccer ball. The toy was developed in Portland, Oregon, where — in 1972 — an athlete named John Stalberger created a kickable plaything to use while rehabilitating an injured knee. The sturdy little toe-teaser has since swept across the North American sports scene.

The growing popularity of the "footgame" is due, in part, to its amazing versatility. The bag is small enough to be carried in almost any pocket, and can provide entertainment for one or more persons, either in competitive play or "just for kicks" action. Of course, as with most sports, you can get as serious about this game as your skill and enthusiasm allow. There's even a national association, which boasts a membership of well over 1,000 and sponsors tournaments all across the United States. On the other hand, anyone who can participate in this pastime without breaking into an occasional spontaneous grin is likely missing the point because, above all, it's fun!

Do It Yourself

Since the sport has become popular under the name "Hacky-Sack," it's now possible to buy "official" (that is, trademarked) Hacky Sack brand footbags in many sporting goods outlets. But it's an easy enough matter — and probably more in keeping with the spirit of this sort of recreation — to make your own version, if you've got about 20 minutes to spare.

First, collect two small pieces of leather. Make sure they're soft and pliable enough to work with, but sturdy enough to hold up to the wear and tear of action. (If you have none on hand, inexpensive scraps can usually be obtained from a leather supply shop, an upholstery firm, or even a secondhand store.) You'll also need some kind of stuffing (mung beans or popcorn kernels are often used) ... a marker ... a pair of scissors ... some dental floss or heavy carpet thread ... a large, sturdy needle ... and a pattern (which resembles a peanut shell).

The Setup

Begin by reproducing the two pieces of sack-to-be, twice, on your leather strips, and then cut out the pair of identical giant peanuts. Lay the pieces down, right sides together, with the end of one peanut lying atop the center of the other. Now, thread the needle with about 18" of dental floss or thread, and you're ready to begin.

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